How To Frame a Photo Like a Polaroid

Multiple ways to make photos look like Polaroid pictures

Polaroid frame effect around photos
This kit will help you quickly add a Polaroid frame to any photo without having to create the frame from scratch.

Sue Chastain

There are a few ways to make a photo look like a Polaroid picture. For example, you can import a Polaroid template into graphic editing software such as GIMP or Photoshop Elements, or you can use a web based tool that adds Polaroid frames to images. There are also mobile apps that turn your photos into Polaroids.

Instructions in this article apply to GIMP 2.10 for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

How to Add a Polaroid Frame to an Image With Tuxbi

Tuxbi is a web based photo editing tool that provides hundreds of borders and other graphical assets for free. To frame a photo like a Polaroid using Tuxbi:

  1. Go to Tuxbi.com and select Start Photo Editing.

    Go to Tuxbi.com and select Start Photo Editing.
  2. Select your image.

    Select your image.
  3. Select Add Effect.

    Select Add Effect.
  4. Scroll down and select Polaroid under Frames & Borders.

    Scroll down and select Polaroid under Frames & Borders.
  5. Enter a caption under Caption and select Update.

    You can also add text to the image and make other adjustments using the toolbar at the top of the page.

    Enter a caption under Caption and select Update.
  6. Select Save to download your new photo.

    Select Save to download your new photo.

There are other free photo editing tools on the web that offer similar types of borders. There are also free Polaroid templates that you can download and use in your own editing software.

Add a Polaroid Frame to an Image on Your Phone

If you have a photo on your phone or tablet that you want to look like a Polaroid, you can use an app like InstaLab to add a border to your image:

  1. Download InstaLab for Android or iOS.

  2. Launch the InstaLab app and tap IMPORT in the bottom-left corner.

  3. Tap BORDERS, then select one of the Polaroid frames at the bottom. When satisfied with your selection, tap the down arrow in the top-right corner.

  4. Tap Save.

    Add a Polaroid frame to an image in InstaLab

How to Add a Polaroid Frame to an Image in GIMP

Using a free graphics program like GIMP gives you greater control over how your final image will look. That said, it's still recommended to use a premade Polaroid template. A Google search for free Polaroid templates will return pages of results, so pick any one you like. Websites like Vecteezy have a number of free and premium options.

To frame a photo like a Polaroid using a template in GIMP:

  1. Open your Polaroid template in GIMP.

    Open your Polaroid template in GIMP.
  2. Go to File > Open as Layers.

    Go to File > Open as Layers.
  3. Select your image.

    Select your image.
  4. Select your image in the Layers palette and drag it under the template layer.

    If the Layers palette isn't visible, select Window > Dockable Dialogs > Layers to bring it up.

    Select your image in the Layers palette and drag it under the template layer.
  5. Select the Scale tool and click on your image to adjust the size so that it will fit within the Polaroid frame.

    Select the Scale tool and click on your image to adjust the size so that it will fit within the Polaroid frame.
  6. Select the Move tool and drag the image into the frame.

You may have to switch back and forth between the Scale and Move tools a few times before you get the positioning right.

Select the Move tool and drag the image into the frame.

Once satisfied with the effect, you can save your work as an XCF file for further editing, or you can export it as a JPEG or another image format.

You can use the same method to achieve a Polaroid effect in Photoshop and other graphics programs. You can also import your Polaroid template into a Word document.

What Are the Official Polaroid Frame Dimensions?

If you plan to create your own Polaroid frame, keep in mind that there are official standards for Polaroid pictures. To be authentic, your frame should fit one the following specs:

SX70 Polaroid

  • Frame: 3 1/2" x 4 1/2"
  • Photo: 3 1/8" x 3 1/8"

Spectra Polaroid

  • Frame: 4" x 4 1/8"
  • Photo: 3 5/8" x 2 7/8"